‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ – Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Making a promise that you have no intention of keeping is sometimes detrimental. Yet, sometimes these sorts of flippant promises can accidentally be ‘made good’ by some weird, ‘cosmic force’ shunting you into place. In the case of young Anthony Keidis, this was definitely the story, and I am so infinitely thankful.
Anyone who knows me well will know I truly believe that each individual on the planet will discover one or two bands or artists in their life time that will always satisfy their hearts and ears. These bands never grow old or tiresome, and will continue to provide a channel of trust and consistency, safe in the knowledge that when there is nothing satisfying your cravings for good sound you can get your hit from the one or two bands that never leave your stereo.
A lot of friends understand this concept of having one or two bands that continually feed the ‘addiction’. Bands like; Metallica, The Whitlams, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Taking Back Sunday, Pink Floyd, Midnight Oil, Radiohead, Sum 41, System of a Down or even John Denver. For me however, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have always been a constant source of pure sound; retreating back to them whenever I fail to find something fresh to suck the life out of.
The Chili Peppers are like a box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re gonna get”. They have always revealed new things to me; something hidden within the music or in the lyrics that give me some brand spanking new brain material to chew on. In the late 80’s they headed a tour also accompanied by the Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam and Nirvana… what a hectic gig that must have been – some of the best rock and grunge bands the world has ever known. If only I could turn back time.
The Chili’s have always incorporated many different sounds into their music, and that’s what makes them easy to default to. They play with genres like funk, rock, soul, rap, pop, punk, thrash, and jazz and force it all into a blender on high speed to produce a tight stompalicious-tetristastic multifarious amalgam of rockin-shlockin sock-jockin tasticness… Blood Sugar Sex Magik has got to be one of their best albums…
Just for fun, let’s play a game. Name the first word that comes into your mind when you see these words…
Red = Hot?
Hot = Chili?
Chili = Peppers?
It’s only a theory…
It was the exclusive work of my beloved father that meant I shook hands with this album. The first time I became conscious to the scorching energy generated by the Peppers, I was sitting in my Dad’s truck parked on the side of the road in the blistering heat with the windows down and my legs hanging out – this was probably 10 years ago now. As I sat there listening to my Dad’s Chili Peppers CD, I suddenly became aware of my head funking out and my shoulders twitching uncontrollably. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of a long term dependency.
This album is colossal. It took the world by storm, as well as my tiny, selfish heart.
As stated in previous entries, I have a belief that every band has one featuring instrument, if not two (any more than two and you get try-hards) – the Chili’s have two featuring instruments; the bass and the guitar.
Renowned punk-ass bassist Michael Balzary, or more affectionately known as ‘Flea’, owns every song on this album with a funky pop style. His mind-blowing talent is captured and bubbled up in every song on the record, but more specifically bald-faced in My Lovely Man, Apache Rose Peacock, Give It Away, Funky Monks and Naked in the Rain.
The calluses on his fingers must be huge. Flea is a legend in the music world; he slides, he slaps, he picks, he pats, he kicks and he taps. The gentleman is a four-stringed deity; far from God, but as close as a human can get when it comes to musical genius.
Take Funky Monks for example. Most of the song is a tap series on one single string but Flea puts so much swag into his music, that the attitude syncopates and resonates deliciously off the strings, sizzles through their amps, pours itself onto the vinyl and floods into your ears. It cannot be compared to anything that has ever been written or produced because nothing is in the same caliber; instead everything else should be compared to IT.
John Frusciante’s guitar has a raw yet sweet, fruity, ‘twangy’ sound that is totally addictive and distinctive – you hear it, and you instantly know its John. John is a zany person in his own right, but the way he construes this into musical form is splendid.
Have a listen to Mellowship Slinky in E Minor, I Could Have Lied, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Sir Psycho Sexy, Under the Bridge and The Power of Equality. If you single out John Frusciante when you are listening to the Chili’s, it’s plain to hear that what John is playing cannot be simply taught; you cannot teach emotion, polish or feeling. These three things come from within a person; the result of a persons story that has consequentially come to the production of a perfect and flawless piece of music.
The sound that comes from John’s guitar on this album is indescribable. It is unlike any other Chili Peppers album where he has a more pure, clean sound. Instead John experiments a little on this album with distortion and syncopation. He jams and engages with Flea better than on any other album produced by the band.
This album is bittersweet. It has a serious and down-tempo aspect about it whilst also housing a bright, funkalicious vibe. You will find that on any Red Hot Chili Peppers album, there will always be a variety of down-tempo and up-tempo. These guys really know how to produce an album; their song selection and sequence is perfect, and on every aspect of the album they have stitched a part of their soul.
More than anything though, this album marks an important stage in the life of the Chili Peppers; it signifies the blend of all their previous sounds and albums into one – which from this album onwards became the sound to which the Chili’s were henceforth associated. Blood Sugar Sex Magik is the album that started the ‘ball rolling’.
This album is very hard to rate. I would love to give it 5 stars, in fact I would be honoured to give it 6 stars if there were capacity enough. This album is truly amazing. I’m not going to rate it, I don’t feel as though I would do it any justice by giving it 5 measly stars, so all I’m going to ask is that you check this album out. This is a classic. Enjoy people.